Beading a headband

11 06 2012

Remember how I made that elaborate beaded belt that didn’t work out? Well this weekend I took on a smaller beading project, inspired by some beautiful beaded headbands I saw recently at Zara and at Bijou Brigitte, and I had a lot more success.

I also watched about 7 Fresh Prince of Bel-Air episodes while I worked on this project. And you’d better believe I sang along with the theme song every single time.

Next time I’ll make a thinner one with less elastic band showing. But this one is pretty and I’m very happy with it! No pictures of it on my head yet, because I had the craziest topknot yesterday that was perfect for lying on the couch and falling asleep during the Germany vs. Portugal soccer game for the European Championship, but definitely not for going out in public.

I’m still deciding on my accessories for both the church and courthouse weddings, but this one is just so pretty that if I can figure out a hairstyle to go with it, it may just make the cut!


Washi tape = LOVE

19 05 2012

Again, I’m pretty late to the game, but with the opening of the new idee craft store in the shopping center nearby, I finally splurged on some washi tape. I bought my self 3 rolls and then proceeded to fall in love with this stuff immediately. Why didn’t I try this sooner?! I went back today and bought myself 2 more rolls.

You can do all sorts of wonderful things with washi tape! Here are some of the things I’d like to try!

AND, my favorite so far, is making tiny toothpick flags!

I’ve made more than I can count…what can I say…I’m pretty obsessed!

I’m not sure about the colors yet (I may need an excuse to buy more washi tape!) but I am planning on using these as cupcake toppers for our wedding. That’s right – we’ve decided to make cupcakes in lieu of a big cake. It’s easier to manage (plus, my mom is a pro when it comes to baking large batches of cupcakes), and it’s a nice tip of the hat to my American culture and I’m sure our German guests will love it.

Moral of the story: if you haven’t tried this stuff yet, go out and buy yourself a roll! Trust me, you won’t regret it!

Going to the city

19 05 2012

The Alte Post building survived the big fire of 1842 and somehow made it through WWII. But a big flood damaged the building so they renovated it, changing it into a shopping mall. It is now the location of Hamburg’s first Abercrombie & Fitch. (Have I ever mentioned how much the Germans LOVE that store?)

If you look the other direction, you can see a pretty awesome view of the Town Hall. I love seeing that building, with its beautiful green roof and shiny gold clock. Not quite as romantic as when I lived in Paris and saw the Eiffel Tower every day, but it’s not sore on the eyes either!

Tobi and I are going downtown in just a bit for an appointment at a jewelry shop – wedding ring shopping again! We think we finally have a more specific idea of what we want, and we just have to iron out the details of ring shape (there are so many profiles!) and width. So hopefully by later this afternoon, we’ll have ordered our wedding bands. Fingers crossed!

Then we can pick up Tobi’s tux and run some other errands. I want to go to Muji and perhaps to Vintage & Rags, a somewhat pricey but pretty sweet secondhand shop. It’s Saturday, so I’m sure it’ll be busy, but I just love trips downtown!

Happy Saturday!

The Name Game – or Why I Decided to Take His Last Name.

2 05 2012

One of the things that has popped up while wedding planning has been the name game. Who takes whose last name?

(The above phrase seems to be pretty popular on Pinterest,  and it made me laugh when I saw it!)

First of all, disclaimer: I support the right to choose. Whether you’ve taken his last name, hyphenated, kept your maiden name, he’s taken your name, you combine your name into one, or you end up with a completely different last name altogether, I think that’s great! These are modern times, and all of the old traditions don’t really apply anymore these days. It’s not as important to carry on a family name as it was in the past, and most of us aren’t royalty who don’t really have a choice in the matter. (Although who really knows any royalty’s last names, anyway!?)

Here in Germany, there isn’t quite as much freedom with the name choices as there is in the US. There’s no Princess Consuela Bananahammock, as Phoebe in Friends decided on, faced with wonder at all of the possibilities when the man at the registrar’s office told her she could choose any name she wanted. On a similar note, even naming newborn babies is regulated here, and you won’t end up with any names like Peaches Honeyblossom, Tallulah Pine, Sage Moonblood, or Diva Thin Muffin Pigeen. None of that here. In fact, baby names must be gender-specific and on a list of approved names! But I digress.

So for German law, you’ve got four easy choices when you get married. 1) Both of you keep your own names, 2) she takes his name, 3) he takes her name, 4) or you can hyphenate both names, but only the woman has a hyphenated name, and then the children get only the husband’s last name, as hyphenation cannot be passed down.

With those choices available, the current trend is to keep your own names, which in my opinion is great when both partners have a professional life in which their name is essentially their brand. That’s probably why celebrities often keep their own names. I don’t know anything about their real choice, but can you imagine Angelina Pitt or even Brad Jolie? Not likely. And in Germany, keeping your maiden name seems to be the cool thing to do, though it is also practical because most couples who get married are already in their mid- to late-thirties and already have an identity built up around their names.

Enter my decision: I have decided to take his name. There are definitely pros and cons for me, which I plan to explain here. Let’s start with the cons, since for me, the pros outweighed the cons enough to make the change.

Cons of giving up Gilmour

  1. Gilmour is a nice name, and I can’t help but smile every time people compare it to the Gilmore Girls. Plus, Sarah Gilmour is also the name of a model whose famous father, David Gilmour, is a member of Pink Floyd, so it will probably drive down my blog hits when I change my name. (Kidding!)
  2. It’s higher up in the alphabet, and my new last name will move me down to S, the 19th letter of the alphabet. It’s not a big deal, though, but it probably means we’ll be waiting a bit longer to watch our kids graduate from school, as those kinds of things are usually done in alphabetical order.
  3. After I got engaged, I started to feel nostalgic about my maiden name. It is kind of a weird feeling to give it up…
  4. My new initials will be SMS, which is what Germans say for text messages. They’ve even made a verb out of it: simsen. “Ich hab dich gesimst!” I once heard a German friend of mine say. And if you shorten it to just the first name and last name, SS is not really a great letter combination here, considering German history…
  5. Everybody knows my heritage. They can automatically see that I’m not German, and though 9 times out of 10, people guess I’m from England (God knows why…), at least they can see that I’m not from around here before I even open my mouth.
  6. Paperwork. I am soooo not looking forward to that. Especially changing the American stuff, where they won’t know what an umlaut is or how to use it, and I will likely have the same problems as Tobi has had with different versions of his name floating around out there – Stäbler, Staebler, Stabler. People without umlauts in their alphabet just don’t understand how it works.
  7. Gilmour is easier to pronounce than Stäbler. As hard as I try, I just can’t get that ä without sounding Schwäbisch (a dialect from Stuttgart, where his family comes from). And my mother told me the other day that she also has trouble with it and could use some pronunciation lessons on my soon-to-be new last name. Ha!

Pros of choosing Stäbler

  1. Growing up, I always assumed I’d take my husband’s name. Yes, that’s the traditional thing to do, and that’s likely  why I dreamed of it as a kid. But for me it’s a nice idea to have a family with one name, where it’s clear to people that we belong together. And we won’t have any difficult decisions later on on what to name the kids.
  2. Sarah Stäbler acutally sounds really nice. I pronounce my first name the American way, and Stäbler the German way. It just has a nice ring to it!
  3. It will fit in my passport. Since I am not hyphenating my last name, I won’t end up with something ridiculously long to fill out on forms, like Sarah Michelle Gilmour-Stäbler. My fingers got tired just from typing that!
  4. Tobi is already really well-known in his business with his own last name, and even though he thought Tobias Gilmour sounded really cool (by the way, it’s pronounced Toe-BEE-us, not Toe-BYE-us), it’s good for him not to have to change his name. Although I think he would have been willing to, had I insisted, and that is really cool of you, Tobi!
  5. Okay, so the language nerd in me comes out: I freaking LOVE the idea of having an umlaut in my name! Apart from the stress of it when dealing with non-German speakers (see #7 above), I just think it’s so awesome to have a character in my name that doesn’t exist in my own language. Besides, it could be worse – saying “it’s like an ‘a’ with two dots over it” is easier than trying to explain the Eszett (ß)…”it’s like a capital B with a long tail, and it’s pronounced like an S”… One of my friends saw the address on my wedding invitations and thought it was actually a “p”. Peter, my best friend and fellow language nerd, took great pains in writing a beautiful Eszett in my street address on a recent card he sent me, and he pointed it out to me so I could admire his handiwork. So anyway, yes. Ä is cool!

So even though I have a few more cons than pros, the point that carries the most weight is having the same family name. And for me, it’s a nice way of combining our cultures and accepting that Germany is a really big part of my life right now and, with a German spouse, will be in the future.

What is your personal preference about changing your name? Did you run into any initials trouble like my SMS, or my mom whose maiden name Susan Arlene Wood had her initials change from SAW to SAG when she got married…? I’d love to hear your thoughts!

Invitations are out!

27 04 2012

That’s something big that is finally off the list!

And another thing that actually resolved a while ago but I (stupidly) haven’t mentioned yet here: we were able to work out a deal with the lady at our original reception place. To make a long story short, there were some misconceptions on her part about what we actually wanted or expected, and Tobias was able to come to an agreement with her. So things are working out at Altonas Balkon after all, and we’re excited about it. It will be great because it’s a perfect location, and the food should be pretty great, too. We’re huge fans of her chocolate cake…oh man. To die for. So good news on all accounts.

Still to do: talk with our friend Matthias about the ceremony (he’s marrying us), find a photographer and a DJ, and Tobi needs to find his suit. Of course there are other things too, but smaller ones. And two days ago, we hit the 100-day mark, which means we are now into the double digits for preparations! Time is sure going by so quickly…can you believe it’s just about May already? And at the moment it feels like we still have plenty of time left, but I think there is so much to do in real life as well that I think August will be here before we know it! But just look at how thick the pile of invitations was!

Anyway, I try to remind myself how exciting of a time this is. It can be quite exhausting sometimes, this wedding planning stuff! Sometimes it feels like a full-time job on top of my already full-time job. I’m sure other brides out there know exactly what I mean! But it’s really a special time and Tobias and I are enjoying the idea that we’ll be beginning our  life together as one family and sharing a name. (That’s something else for another post, because the name thing is an interesting topic!)

Even before I got engaged, I looked at quite a bit of wedding blogs. I still do, to some extent, as well as look at the wedding and events section on Pinterest. But now it’s getting to the point where I think I pretty much have a vision for our wedding’s details and décor, and I find myself getting bored looking at those blogs now. It’s funny how my idea of my wedding has changed from the very first time I began dreaming about what it would be like!

Paper straws – YES!

23 04 2012

I’m SUPER psyched…100 of these paper straws are coming my way! I got them on Etsy from Hey YoYo. They’ve got all the colors you could think of! We’re planning on using them for lunch at our apartment after our courthouse wedding.

Paper straws just make everything more fancy & fun!  Like this Riesling strawberry slushy recipe from With Style and Grace. YUM!

Source: via Sarah on Pinterest

Also…my littlest cousin turns 18 today! I can’t believe it!  Happy birthday, James!

Shoes. OMG! Shoes.

22 04 2012

Aside from the fact that I’ve probably gotten that lovely “song” from that YouTube video in your head (and mine), I really am here today to talk about shoes.

Let’s just say I am counting down the days until I can wear my precious Birkenstock sandals again. I can’t wait until it is warm enough and stops raining enough for me to wear my Gizeh sandals in onyx!

I don’t wear high heels all that often, nor do I dress up, really. But for my wedding I just might need something that looks good, too! So I’m in the market for a good pair of heels at the moment. It’s currently Sunday, so that means it’s impossible to do any real shopping here in Germany, as all the stores are closed on Sundays. (One thing I REALLY miss about the USA…) So I am online shopping instead…here are a few of my favorites!

1. Buffalo Patent Peeptoe in coral

2. Görtz 17 Gold Glitter Pumps

3. Görtz 17 T-Strap Sandalette

(But I would definitely get rid of that pink charm!)

4. seven seconds Sandalette @ Zalando

But online shopping is fun, too – it allows me to shop in the States!

My favorite from Payless, Fioni Color Block Sandal

What kind of shoes did you wear at your wedding? My sister-in-law had flats to wear, but in the end didn’t wear any the whole day! Nobody knew because she had a long dress!

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